It's been raining for four days straight; the backyard is a giant lake of mud. Jim's getting bummed out. Still, amazingly, he's working away on the screen porch, him and Mike. In the rain. Soaking wet.
Dan's still cleaning nicotine off the 3rd floor woodwork. Those crazy ladies loved 'em some smokes. Yeesh.
Tim the chimney-sweep delivered a passel o' bad news today re the LR fireplace; basically, he said, the whole chimney's about to topple over. If you've seen the chimney (it's massive), you'll understand my alarm. Tim further allowed that because the flu's unlined, it's basically unsafe at any speed, although a $4,000 liner system would pretty much fix me up. I called a brick mason who does chimney work to come and take a look. He hasn't seen it yet, but said he could pretty much rebuild the chimney from the roof-line up for four grand. So I'm a bit skeptical regarding Tim. Most of the folks we've dealt with have been exceedingly honest and have done excellent work at fair prices (seriously—it's almost shocking, the honesty of these Wisconsinites), but we've also had a couple of disappointing encounters, mostly to do with fireplaces. We'll see. I don't think we're going to spend $8-$10k to make the fireplace safe for wood-burning.
Still, Tim threw enough of a scare into me that I'm thinking gas insert at this point, though the lovely A_________ is determined to burn logs. "I want to burn a log," she said. "Okay," I said. "We can burn a log. Then we'll get a gas insert." The trick, I'm pretty sure, is not to burn the house down. If you can do that and still have a working fireplace—gas, wood, whatever—then you're swimming in gravy. A wood-burning insert isn't possible, I don't think, with an unlined flu. They're all butt-ugly, anyway. Three thou for the gas insert, roughly. Oy.
There have been good days and bad days on this house renovation project; today's kind of a bad day. The good news, to the extent that there is any, is that after all this rain the roof ain't leaking and the basement's dry. Hey, I'll take what I can get.